Chafee Reaffirms Opposition to Bolton

Two days after losing his re-election bid, Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R.-R.I.) announced today he would oppose John Bolton‘s confirmation as UN ambassador.

Chafee spokesman Stephen Hourahan said the senator made the announcement today at press conference. The White House resubmitted Bolton’s nomination to the Senate earlier today.

“On Tuesday, the American people sent a clear message of dissatisfaction with the foreign policy approach of the Bush Administration,” Chafee said. “To confirm Mr. Bolton to the position of UN Ambassador would fly in the face of the clear consensus of the country that a new direction is called for.

“I have long believed that the go-it-alone philosophy that has driven this administration’s approach to international relations has damaged our leadership position in the world. Mr. Bolton does not demonstrate the kind of collaborative approach that I believe will be called for if we are to restore the United States’ position as the strongest country in a peaceful world.”

Earlier this year, Bolton was moving swiftly toward confirmation once Sen. George Voinovich (R.-Ohio) announced he would back his confirmation. Voinovich’s opposition in May 2005 led to President Bush’s recess appointment of Bolton.

In September, however, Chafee put the breaks on Bolton, telling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that he couldn’t support Bolton’s confirmation.

A spokesman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said the possibility still existed for Bolton to reach the Senate floor for a vote—assuming the White House would accept a negative committee vote.

“The White House has not wanted a negative vote on the Bolton nomination,” said Andy Fisher, spokesman for Chairman Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.). “We have been ready to move to a committee vote at the moment an affirmative vote is possible. Given Chafee’s announcement today it is not clear what the next step will be.”

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